Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why do you use the phrase “consumer or family member”? What does it mean?

CQT defines a consumer as someone who has lived with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder. CQT defines family member as someone who is a family member or close relative of a consumer.

What do you mean by funding/oversight agency?

Within the public mental health system, there are departments that are responsible for funding, monitoring and credentialing behavioral health services. They also license and provide administrative support to, as well as resolve problems, with mental health services providers in any given area. CQT uses funding/oversight agency to denote the organization with these responsibilities in a particular situation. The Core Service Agency, also known as a Local Behavioral Health Authority, is the funding/oversight agency for PRPs in a jurisdiction.

What do you mean by provider associations?

Like in most fields, there are professional associations in the field of mental health services. Provider associations in Maryland include the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland(CBH) and the Maryland Association of Resources for Family and Youth (MARFY). These organizations advocate for and provide support and technical assistance to their members.

CQT Process and Reporting

Can I read a copy of the Site Visit Report for my agency?

CQT Site Visit Reports are not public documents and are only sent to designated agency staff. For PRP site visits, reports are sent to the PRP Director, Executive Director/CEO of the program, and the CSA. For inpatient facilities, reports are sent to the unit staff, building director, division director, CEO of the facility, and the child-adolescent division of BHA. CQT publishes an Annual Report detailing our activities and findings for each fiscal year.

What types of changes have you seen in programs?

The most drastic changes CQT has seen involve program/LBHA investigations into allegations which resulted in the removal of unprofessional staff. Other changes include new classes, better food, a new van service, and other quality of life improvements.

How does CQT handle confidentiality?

If a consumer brings up a specific problem, CQT asks permission to use their name to report the problem. CQT can report the consumers name and request at multiple levels within the system (senior staff at the program/unit/building, the CEO, CSA, Rights Advisor, and/or Behavioral Health Administration). Consumers names are only shared with the specific comments for which they gave permission, and CQT makes every effort to honor consumers’ wishes about how and with whom that information is shared.

In cases where a consumer reports risk of harm, misconduct, or abuse, CQT teams must report this with the consumers name to the appropriate agency. Consumers are informed of this mandate before they interview. CQT maintains the utmost discretion and concern for the safety and well-being of the individual consumer.

The Site Visit Report includes an Index of all consumer comments from interviews during the site visit. No names are used in the written report; comments are anonymous. If a comment contains identifying information, it is modified or excluded.

What follow-up does CQT do with individual consumers?

Every consumer interviewed receives contact information for CQT and is encouraged to contact the team if their issue is not addressed. Facility staff, CEOs, and/or the CSA can follow up with the individual consumers who gave permission for their name to be shared with agency staff. CQT visits most sites three to six times each fiscal year, so consumers can choose to interview with CQT to discuss the progress of a previously reported issue.

Are there issues that cannot be resolved through CQT?

CQT does not resolve problems; we report issues to the oversight and funding agencies in the public behavioral health system that have the capacity and authority to resolve problems. CQT’s process of site visits, written reports, and Feedback Meetings, ensures that consumers suggestions, concerns, and requests are referred to the appropriate agency.

There are requests, concerns, or complaints that are not able to be resolved as the consumer would like. Often this is because the agency providing services does not have the power to make such a change, or because there are not viable alternatives to the current situation. Issues that may not be able to be resolved through CQT include such things as:

  • Dissatisfaction with the amount of SSI or SSDI payments. SSI and SSDI amounts are mandated by the federal government
  • Dissatisfaction with placement in a particular RRP. There may be no other available RRP beds in the county.

However, all requests are recorded during the interview, included in the Site Visit Report, and addressed at the Feedback Meeting.

Can a program “opt-out” of being visited? Does CQT ever stop visiting programs? Is there a quota on the number of visits?

CQT makes three to six site visits to selected programs each fiscal year on an ongoing basis. CSAs and BHA determine the programs in a jurisdiction that will be visited. CQT does not stop visiting programs unless directed to do so by the CSA or BHA.

CQT teams understand the daily challenges and unexpected situations that can arise on any given day in behavioral health programs. If a crisis arises during an announced or unannounced site visit, CQT teams will end the visit early and return another day.

CQT visits programs regularly in an effort to give a complete, real-time report of consumers’ satisfaction with the services they receive. Programs change the style and content of their programming, and both staff and consumers leave and join the program. CQT Site Visit Reports are a tool for monitoring consumers’ satisfaction and improving the quality of services over time.

Improving Quality

Does CQT do audits or investigations?

The purpose of a site visit is to help address issues for individual consumers and provide immediate feedback to facilities and funding/oversight agencies. CQT reports consumer experiences and needs, facility staff responses, and CQT observations to funding/oversight agencies. CQT does not verify consumer’s comments. Comments and complaints are investigated and verified by the program staff, CEO, CSA or BHA; their findings are reported back to CQT during Feedback Meetings.

Does CQT analyze data about the public mental health system?

CQT uses qualitative interviews; CQT does not generate scientific findings based on a random sample of a population. CQT does not validate the information given by consumers. The information collected reflects the feelings and beliefs of the individual consumer; it should not be used as an independent tool to evaluate a provider or a program. CQT publishes an Annual Report that highlights the top issues consumers reported.

Doesn’t Maryland have enough oversight and quality assurance programs?

There are oversight and quality assurance programs that measure outcomes and general satisfaction in Maryland’s Behavioral Health System, as well as individual programs/facilities. BHA, the Office of Health Care Quality, Beacon Health Options Maryland, and most other agencies implement quality assurance and improvement measures. Some use annual surveys, interviews or site visits, and/or rely on submitted reports. Evaluation, oversight, and quality assurance programs are always necessary.

Many of these activities are year-end or one-time evaluations that look backward to find out if a program or activity met expectations. These evaluation activities are not able to capture the specific, unmet needs of an individual and how and why consumers are or are not satisfied with the service they receive. CQT, in contrast, offers immediate and ongoing feedback about emerging issues as well as recommendations, suggestions, and explanations from the users of the services.

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